I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


This week I had the opportunity to chat to some Year 10 kids about what it's like to have a career in hospitality. I was a bit nervous about it, but not for the reasons you might think (although it's safe to say that 15/16 year old kids are a wee bit scary.) I was giving these talks at a private school - a private school known for educating the children of some of Australia's wealthiest and most successful families. Families where the expectation might be that you are going into Dad's business, or going to become a doctor, lawyer, or some equally well-paying profession. So there I am, showing up in my chef coat (because of course I needed to look the part, didn't I?) and I'm thinking that I'm probably the only trades person there, and that if I'm lucky I'll have 2 kids at each session.

When I walked in I was told that there were people there representing every profession from plumbers to QCs - and I suddenly felt a little bit better about it all. It was also really nice to have a reasonable group of kids show up to my chats, so at least I wasn't sitting there all alone and whistling tunelessly.  I even found myself quite enjoying the experience. Sure, I cursed (shit. oops!) and sure, I rambled a bit, but basically I like to think I imbued these kids with a sense of just how much I love my job and my industry.

One of the topics I was meant to cover was opportunities for travel - eg, did my job have any travel opportunities, and if so, what might those be. I gave a whole spiel about how cooking is one of very few professions which can be taken almost anywhere in the world, and that a formal qualification is not really necessary. Let's face it, in every country, in every economy, people NEED to eat. You don't necessarily NEED a web designer or a lawyer or a shop manager, but you do need to eat. Having a skill related to food means it's pretty easy to find a job - might not be exactly the job you want, but finding gainful employment when you have a transferable skill like food preparation is pretty easy to do. It's also a great job to do while you are doing other things, because food is a 24 hour a day business - so it's not all that hard to (for example) get a degree during the day and cook at night.

I give this whole spiel and one kid pipes up and says, "But surely that's not really true. You can't cook ANYWHERE in the world. There are some countries where you could never get a job."

"Sure, that's possible - did you have a specific country in mind?"

"Yeah, India. They don't eat sweets in India."

I wanted to say something witty here, I really did. Instead I gave him the real answer, which is that Indian culture is actually VERY well known for it's sweets (in the extreme, actually. Five seconds in any Indian bakery will tell you that.) I also pointed out that even if they did not eat sweets, there are plenty of hotels in India which cater to people who DO eat sweets - so, trust me, gainful employment in hospitality in India IS actually possible.

He had the good grace to look at least a little sheepish and I'm hoping that I educated this kid just the tiniest bit - and if not, well, I hear being a lawyer is a pretty good profession. :)

1 comment:

adele said...

Oh, you have NO IDEA how glad I would have been to hear a career talk from a chef in Year 10! (I went to public school before boarding school, but it was a selective school where the kids dreamed of perfect scores on the HSC.) I'll bet there was at least one kid in the room who was desperately relieved to hear that he or she could have an interesting, fulfilling career in something other than law, medicine, or accounting.